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Mullins v. Steele

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

June 21, 2017

RICHARD JOHN MULLINS, Petitioner,
v.
TROY STEELE, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          CATHERINE D. PERRY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court upon review of petitioner's response to the order to show cause.[1] Having carefully reviewed petitioner's response, the Court concludes that his arguments are without merit and that the instant action is time-barred under 28 U.S.C. §§ 2254 and 2244.

         Background

         On September 30, 2008, petitioner pled guilty to felony theft/stealing over $500 in property. See State v. Mullins, No. 08BB-CR00984-01 (12th Judicial Circuit, Warren County Court). On that same date he was sentenced to an aggregate prison term of ten years in the Missouri Department of Corrections. The court suspended the execution of the sentence (“SES”), and retained jurisdiction over petitioner for 120 days, pursuant to Mo.Rev.Stat. § 559.115 under the Missouri Shock Incarceration Program. On December 16, 2008, the court ordered that petitioner be released on probation for a period of five years. Petitioner did not appeal the sentence or file a timely motion for post-conviction relief.

         The court revoked petitioner's probation on September 9, 2010. Id. Petitioner waited until April 19, 2017 to file a motion for post-conviction relief under Missouri Rule 24.035, which was denied on that same date without a hearing. See Mullins v. State, No. 17BB-CC00036 (12thJudicial Circuit, Warren County Court). Petitioner is currently incarcerated at Eastern Reception Diagnostic and Correctional Center, where Troy Steele is Warden.

         In the instant petition, petitioner argues that his counsel was ineffective and that his sentence is invalid under the Missouri Supreme Court case of State v. Bazell, 497 S.W.3d 263 (Mo.banc 2016).

         Legal Analysis

         Rule 4 of the Rules Governing § 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts provides that a district court shall summarily dismiss a § 2254 petition if it plainly appears that the petitioner is not entitled to relief.

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d):

(1) A 1-year period of limitation shall apply to an application for a writ of habeas corpus by a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court. The limitation period shall run from the latest of…
(C) the date on which the constitutional right asserted was initially recognized by the Supreme Court, if the right has been newly recognized by the Supreme Court and made retroactively applicable to cases on collateral review;...

         Under Missouri law a suspended execution of sentence (“SES”) is an entry of judgment, because the sentence has been assessed and only the act of executing the sentence has been suspended. See State v. Nelson, 9 S.W.3d 687, 688 (Mo.Ct.App. 1999). The time for filing a direct appeal of the judgment expired ten (10) days after the judgment was entered. Mo. Sup. Ct. R. 30.01(d). As a result, petitioner's judgment on his original conviction became final ten (10) days after he was sentenced on September 30, 2008. Petitioner's judgment on his revocation became final ten (10) days after he was revoked on September 9, 2010.

         Because petitioner did not file an appeal or motion for post-conviction relief within the one-year period for either his original sentence or his revocation, but instead waited until almost seven years after his revocation, it matters not whether he is attempting to overturn his original conviction or his revocation conviction: both convictions and sentences are time-barred pursuant to § 2244.

         Seemingly recognizing that his petition is untimely on its face, petitioner asserts that the Court should restart his federal limitations period under § 2244(d)(1)(C). He argues in his petition that his prior state convictions were unlawfully used to enhance his state sentence for stealing, as set forth ...


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